Getting Tighter And Better Sounding Rock Guitar And Bass Tracks On Record
When recording music your band is planning on charging fans money for, it is massively important that it doesn’t just sound great, but is also performed as tightly as possible. So I’ve thrown together a quick 5 step process for studio preparation and performance that I’ve seen used by many artists including my own bands – to get great sounding and well played guitar and bass tracks in the studio: without spending days and days dialing in tones and endless tracking. Here we go…
A Quick Disclaimer: These tips are focused on the genres of Acoustic Rock/Classic Rock/Hard Rock/Metal/Punk and Alternative Rock – the studio-techniques used in other genres may be vastly different and won’t be covered in detail here. Also these ideas are framed as studio preparation and performance tips – they may not be applicable to your own writing process. Please read on if you’re cool with all that.
1) Write, practice (with an eye on tempo) and record (also with a click-track) the basic parts to the musical ideas at a quicker tempo than you will ideally be recording the music at – this will help with muscle memory and exactness of your picking, attack, execution and nuance. (Use a basic tone or better yet an acoustic guitar to record basic ideas as this will push your technical proficiency over the top).
2) Start working on more exacting tones for each section and plan to record all sections using similar tones (guitars, amps, cabs, settings, tunings, pedals, effects etc) at the same time; do this prior to the studio as to avoid wasted recording time. (This process will also show up any issues you might have with the condition of the guitars, leads, amps, cabs and pedals you’re planning to use on the recordings).
3) Shop Set-Up/Repair/Re-string all guitars and basses that going to be used on the recording – this will ensure all instruments have strong intonation (the chordal tunefulness between pressed and open strings across the whole instrument – my own words) and also ensure that all instruments sound vibrant with a fresh re-string. (Getting a vibrant guitar sound on record is harder than you might expect – so fresh strings will help to naturally lift your guitar tracks in the mix).
You might also consider replacing any amp valves, cables and power-supplies you believe are adding unwanted noise to your signal path. (Good cables are a must in the studio)! Spending a little money on your gear may be small price to pay compared to squandered studio hours etc.
4) Send your producer sound files of reference bands or your home recordings and make sure to highlight what about the playing, tones, effects etc that you’re looking to emulate or approximate in the studio. (Don’t assume that you’re studio engineers or producer will be as keenly aware of your bands influences than you are – so send them some music early so they can hold of any gear, tech toys they believe might help).
5) Remember this methodology “Close Enough Is Not Good Enough” when it comes to recorded performance, period. It is never advisable to OK a less than perfectly executed performance as it will always haunt you when you listen back. If it’s clearly not good enough for your bands ears, than it’s simply not good enough for your followers, support network and paying fans.
OK guys and gals I hope this one helps your next studio project and please if you have more tips, tactics or advice for studio preparation and performance on any instrument please post them in a comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll use them in a future post and link you up :)
Have a great day and please take this chance to check out http://www.diymusicmovement.com/diy-resources if you need some sweet reading material this month.